kicks off the episode by taking the (too?) lovable cowboy,
, on a boot-shopping expedition. But she ain't just looking to score some pink Lucchese's in this scene; she also wants an apology from Levi for lying to her about his love triangle sitch with Twinkerbell Taylor and Chia Chest Chase. I respect the way Ashley effortlessly reigns as the No. 1 dramz queen in a show full of gay camera hogs. But they manage to bury the hatchet, and she's on to her next demand. She needs Leev's assistance in helping Jack-soaked James find an activity that isn't heavy drinking. So they agree to go horseback riding, which works out since Levi's been wanting to get back into competitive rodeo. Childhood dreams never die, and all that shit.
Scene 2: 'Member how I requested some scenes of Taylor's political life last week? The reality gods were apparently listening, because we see our little Tay-Tay all gussied up and power-lunching with the local Log Cabin reps. He dominates the conversation with his theories on keeping politics and dating separate. He also gets in a dig at the local "gay church" for having a "laser show on Easter." The whole scene's a lot of choir-preachin' about how Democrats hold gays and minorities hostage, blah blah blah. And I actually wanted to see this side of Taylor? Let's just go back to butt-waxing and bitchery.
Scene 3: Finally, the scene I've been waiting for since last week's preview, in which Levi takes Ashley, James and Brayden horseback-riding on his ranch. You know Brayden. He's the ultra-fab, confidently androgynous hairdresser who serves as moral support for James, always ready with a wise word or an "Are you seeeeeriouss?" Well, here, he shows his star power by cutely plotzing his way into a horseback rendez vous with Levi. And he looks absolutely glamdiculous holding on to the cowboy. I'm convinced Brayden should have his own show. Or at least his own underwear line. He could call it MenschWear. But back to the intended stars of the show: James' cowboy hat looks great and very non-dimestore-ish on him. We're warming, we're warming.
Scene 4: Ashley's at it again, pulling all the strings. At a dinner with James and Levi, she "voluntells" them that they'll be participating in an upcoming AIDS-charity auction she's helping plan. "Chase and Phillip were volun-told yesterday," she says. Ashley in cutaway: "I can get whatever I want from anybody. They're mine." She should team up with Most Eligible starlet Courtney Kerr to whore local bachelors out to charities on the regs. Another spinoff idea. Logo should really start paying me.
Scene 5: Levi meets with a fellow gay rodeo cowboy to talk about getting back into the arena. Since Le-Le has some back problems, he's looking for a way to rodeo again without risking too much. The adviser suggests light activities, such as putting underwear on goats, but our leading man wants something more hardcore. Calf-ropin' sounds about right, sez the adviser, who at times seems lost in Leev's eyes. Or maybe he's thinking about a photo he'd seen on the Internet. Ahem. Wide-angle lens.
Scene 6: Oh lord, it's Phillip. And he has Levi all to himself for a night of cocktails at the Grapevine. As usual, he's on a fact-finding mission. He wants all the dirt on Levi's relasha-ship with Chase. And Levi is disappointingly loose-lipped, telling Phil that he's not ever going to consider Chase as a boyfriend. Tsk tsk. Most cowboys are more direct about their lack of feelings.
[The RuPaul's Drag Race commercial is just as entertaining as the show we're recapping. "Begin drag droid construction." "Bring mee mai gehls!" The "DEVASTATING" button. Can't get enough.]
Scene 7: Ashley meets with her fund-raising lackeys (they only think they are the organizers). She signals her approval of a speed-dating theme. Speed-dating for African AIDS relief. Sounds like a winnah!
Scene 8: Levi and his adoring rodeo adviser are joined by Phillip and Chase at a polo match. Perfect opportunity for Phillip to stir up shit and spread general unhappiness. It's what he does best. He tells Chase about his talk with Levi. Chase plays it cool, insists he doesn't care that Levi isn't monogamous. So, now that everyone's irritated, it's time to divot-stomp. Chase takes Levi aside, tells him about Phillip's attempts to get in the middle of thangs. And even though Chay-Chay reaffirms that he's fine with keeping their fling casual, Cutaway Levi is concerned: "I feel like [exasperated breath] he might be more emotionally involved [second exasperated breath] than I am right now." You know who's not at all emotionally involved in this probably fake romantic drama? [Points to self.]
Scene 9: It's time for the speed-dating charity adventure! Taylor's in the heez, but Levi's nowhere to be found. Ashley questions Chase about his beau's absence, to be met with overreaction and hostility. But that ends quickly, and the dates begin. The round-robinness of the setup allows for a one-on-one between Chase and Taylor. They decide to keep it light, despite their past tension, and are eventually joined by a jovial James. Probably the most natural moment of the show. Jokes all around. Nice to see these guys not mugging, for once. James gets in a nice insult at the hypothetical notion of dating Phillip: "It'd be like sleeping with a loudspeaker." So fucking true. Warming, warming.
[Coming in a close second to the Drag Race commercial is the Capital One spot with Jimmy Fallon. That baby is gold.]
Scene 10: Levi meets with a potential Inchwear investor. The investor wants Leev to move to Florida (where the business is based) permanently, which would be bad for the rodeo lifestyle and the whole starring-in-a-Dallas-based-TV-show thing. The cowboy smartly pooh-poohs the Florida suggestion.
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Scene 11: Levi discusses the business meeting with Chase while he cooks up some chow. Chase agrees with the decision to turn down the investment and stay in Dallas. Pretty cut and dry. (Side note to Chase: Don't go straight from the tanning bed to the cutaway interview. Not a good look.)
Scene 12: Levi, our cocky (tee-hee) leading man who's starred in nearly every scene so far, is now at the doctor's office to find out whether he can be cleared for competitive rodeo. After a heartbreaking X-Ray, it's determined that it'd be best for him not to try anything too extreme, unless he wants to flirt with permanent disability. Sad moment for Levi, but he's got a good head (on his shoulders, gutter mind!) and will no doubt move on to something equally as exciting. [Cue Garth Brooks or George Strait song, slow-motion footage of Levi's horseback ride with Brayden.]
Until next week, poodles!